Panel paves way to limit oversight of auto dealers

In the end, the political clout of 18,000 auto dealers scattered nationwide was too much even for President Barack Obama.

House and Senate negotiators putting final shape to a sweeping overhaul of Wall Street regulations all but agreed Tuesday to exclude auto dealers from the oversight of a consumer financial protection bureau.

The House bill approved in December contained an exemption for auto dealers from lending regulations issued by the proposed consumer agency. The Senate bill did not, but in a 60-30 nonbinding vote last month, senators called for the loophole.

Under a compromise offered by Senate Democrats on Tuesday, auto dealers would still be covered by federal truth-in-lending rules that would have to conform to regulations adopted by the consumer agency.

But the bottom line would be that auto dealers would be exempt from direct supervision by the consumer financial protection bureau. The exclusion would not apply to auto dealers that provide their own financing.

 

Pickens says America ready for energy independence plan

Texas billionaire T. Boone Pickens said Americans are ready for the challenge if President Barack Obama will commit to a 10-year plan to reduce U.S. dependence on foreign oil.

Pickens said Tuesday he believes the United States has enough natural gas reserves to “replace dirty foreign oil.”

Speaking at the Sustainable Innovation Summit in Dallas, Pickens reiterated his belief that wind and solar power also are keys to energy independence.

The Texas oilman said nothing has happened in the two years since Obama pledged to implement a 10-year plan for exploring alternative energy sources.

Pickens also criticized the United States for being behind China in trying to solve energy problems.

“America has never had a plan,” Pickens said. “They have a plan to solve their problem, we don’t.”

 

Madoff’s former finance chief released on $10 million bail

The former finance chief for jailed financier Bernard Madoff was released on $10 million bail Tuesday, months after he admitted his role in an epic fraud that cost investors billions of dollars and agreed to cooperate with investigators.

Just a few hours after Frank DiPascali left U.S. District Court in Manhattan without speaking to reporters, prosecutors revealed they had filed civil papers to recoup $5 million from two longtime former back-office Madoff employees who have never been charged criminally.

DiPascali, 53, was freed according to the terms of a bail package that a judge had set in February. He pleaded guilty in August to helping with Madoff’s multi-decade Ponzi scheme until it collapsed in late 2008.

 

AT&T delays sale of iPhone 4 to fulfill early orders first

Though Apple stores will be carrying the iPhone 4 on Thursday, you’ll have to wait until next week if you want to buy it from its official U.S. wireless carrier, AT&T Inc.

AT&T said Tuesday that it will start selling the iPhone 4 on June 29 through its stores and website to anyone who was not able to order on June 15, the first day that Apple made the phone available. AT&T stopped taking orders the next day because of overwhelming demand.

AT&T spokesman Fletcher Cook said that because the number of early orders for the new iPhone were so high, the company “made it our priority to fulfill these orders first.”

Apple and its partner companies received more than 600,000 orders in 24 hours on June 15.

Intel, government in talks to settle antitrust charges

Intel Corp. and the Federal Trade Commission are in talks to settle an antitrust case against the chip maker, a move that could make it more difficult for rivals to pursue damages.

In December, the FTC filed charges against Intel, seeking to end what it described as decades of illegal sales tactics that have hampered competitors and kept prices for computer chips artificially high.

This week, the FTC and Intel agreed to suspend administrative trial proceedings as they work on negotiating a settlement.

The FTC accused Intel of strong-arming computer makers into exclusive deals, manipulating technical data to make its chips look more powerful than those from competitors, and blocking rivals from making its chips work with Intel’s.

Intel, which disclosed the settlement talks late Monday, has disputed the charges and said it has merely been offering discounts.